CO Q 10
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It is eaten in small amounts in meats and seafood. Coenzyme Q-10 can also be made in a laboratory. It is used as medicine.
Many people use coenzyme Q-10 for treating heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, and heart problems linked to certain cancer drugs. It is also used for diabetes, gum disease (both taken by mouth and applied directly to the gums), breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, increasing exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Lyme disease. Some people think coenzyme Q-10 will treat hair loss related to taking warfarin (Coumadin), a medication used to slow blood clotting.
Some people also think coenzyme Q-10 might help increase energy. This is because coenzyme Q-10 has a role in producing ATP, a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. Coenzyme Q-10 been tried for treating inherited or acquired disorders that limit energy production in the cells of the body (mitochondrial disorders), and for improving exercise performance.
Some people have also used coenzyme Q-10 for strengthening the immune systems of people with HIV/AIDS, male infertility, migraine headache, and counteracting muscle pain sometimes caused by a group of cholesterol-lowering medications called “statins.”
Coenzyme Q-10 has even been tried for increasing life span. This idea got started because coenzyme Q-10 levels are highest in the first 20 years of life. By age 80, coenzyme-Q10 levels can be lower than they were at birth. Some people thought that restoring high levels of coenzyme-Q10 late in life might cause people to live longer. The idea works in bacteria, but not in lab rats. More research is needed to see if this works in people.
WHAT IS COENZYME Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.
Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and they help protect the heart and skeletal muscles.
CoQ10 is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is also known as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.
WHAT IS COQ10 USED FOR?
- Age-related vision loss (age-related macular degeneration). Taking a specific product containing coenzyme Q-10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids (Phototrop) by mouth seems to improve vision in people with age-related vision loss.
- Congestive heart failure (CHF). Some research suggests that heart failure might be linked with low coenzyme Q-10 levels. Although most evidence shows that taking coenzyme Q-10 alone does not help treat heart failure, there is some evidence that it might be helpful when taken in combination with other heart failure medications and treatments.
- Nerve damage caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Research shows that taking coenzyme Q-10 improves nerve damage and nerve pain in people with nerve damage caused by diabetes.
- HIV/AIDS. Taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth seems to improve immune function in people with HIV/AIDS.
- An inherited neurological disorder called Huntington’s disease. Ubiquinol, an altered form of coenzyme Q-10, has been granted “Orphan Drug Status” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This gives the maker of Ubiquinol some financial incentives to study its effectiveness for Huntington’s, a condition that is so rare (affecting less than 200,000 individuals) that pharmaceutical companies might not otherwise invest in developing a drug for it. However, taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth in doses of 600 mg daily or less does not seem to be effective for slowing the progression of Huntington’s disease.
- High blood pressure. The majority of research shows that taking coenzyme Q-10 by itself or along with other medications for treating high blood pressure seems to help lower blood pressure. However, one small study suggests that taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth may not lower blood pressure in people that also have a condition called metabolic syndrome.
- Blood vessel complications caused by heart bypass surgery. Reduced blood supply during heart or blood vessel surgery can deprive tissue of oxygen. When blood supply returns to this tissue, the tissue can become damaged. There is some evidence that taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth for a week before heart bypass surgery or blood vessel surgery might help to reduce tissue damage. However, not all research agrees with this finding.
- A specific type of high blood pressure. Taking coenzyme Q-10 daily appears to lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) in some people with high systolic blood pressure but normal diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
- Migraine headache. Taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth seems to help prevent migraine headaches. Studies show it can decrease the frequency of headaches by about 30% and the number of days with headache-related nausea by about 45% in adults. Taking coenzyme Q-10 also appears to reduce migraine frequency in children who have low levels of coenzyme Q-10. It can take up to 3 months for significant benefit. However, coenzyme Q-10 does not seem to be effective in treating migraines once they have developed.
- An inherited muscle disorder called muscular dystrophy. Taking coenzyme Q-10 by mouth seems to improve physical performance in some people with muscular dystrophy
- Heart attack. When started within 72 hours of a heart attack and taken for one year, coenzyme Q-10 appears to lower the risk of heart-related events, including another heart attack.
- Parkinson’s disease. Some research shows that taking coenzyme Q-10 supplements might slow decline in people with early Parkinson’s disease. However, taking a coenzyme Q-10 does not seem to improve symptoms in people with mid-stage Parkinson’s disease.
- Peyronie’s disease (painful erection in men). Research shows that taking coenzyme Q-10 improves erectile function in men with painful erections.
COENZYME Q-10 SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY
Coenzyme Q-10 is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth or when applied directly to the gums. While most people tolerate coenzyme Q-10 well, it can cause some mild side effects including stomach upset, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can cause allergic skin rashes in some people. It also might lower blood pressure, so check your blood pressure carefully if you have very low blood pressure. Dividing the total daily dose by taking smaller amounts two or three times a day instead of a large amount all at once can help reduce side effects.
Coenzyme Q-10 is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth. However, coenzyme Q-10 should not be used in children without medical supervision.
SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS & WARNINGS:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Coenzyme Q-10 is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately during preganancy. Coenzyme Q-10 has been used safely twice daily starting at 20 weeks until delivery. Not enough is known about the use of coenzyme Q-10 during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Chemotherapy: There is some concern that coenzyme Q-10 might lower the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs. People undergoing chemotherapy with certain drugs should use coenzyme Q-10 with caution.
- High blood pressure or low blood pressure: Coenzyme Q-10 might lower blood pressure. It can increase the effects of medications used to lower blood pressure. Discuss your use of coenzyme Q-10 with your healthcare provider if you have blood pressure problems.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking depletes the amount of coenzyme Q-10 stored by the body.
- Surgery: Coenzyme Q-10 might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using coenzyme Q-10 at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.